Public input requested – City comprehensive housing strategy

Hi neighbors,

The SNA Board will draft a public response for the following, which we successfully lobbied for a public input deadline extension on. We welcome input from neighbors on this – please send to SNAProv@gmail.com. Please send to us by 1/13/21. You’re also, of course, welcome and encouraged to directly submit individual input, by 1/19/21.

The SNA Board is acutely aware of the sharply increasing housing prices in our neighborhood, while Rhode Island incomes have been slower to grow, and how that creates a higher and higher barrier to entry to new families and may displace others, including renters. Many residents – my own family included, actually – would no longer be able to afford to become a first-time home buyer in our neighborhood. We’re eager to participate in a process toward fair and equitable solutions.

Best,

Ethan Gyles

City of Providence Charts Bold New Course for Affordable Housing

This month, the City of Providence unveiled the City’s Anti-Displacement and Comprehensive Housing Strategy (the Strategy) and first-ever City Affordable Housing Bond. As COVID-19 amplifies the critical housing needs facing Providence residents, the City’s comprehensive housing plan builds an actionable 10-year road map for policy recommendations, new programs and housing investments. Key findings outlined in the plan include:

  • Providence households are cost-burdened
  • The City’s older housing stock creates challenges
  • Extremely low-Income households are underserved
  • Housing choice and type are limited in several areas of the City

The key findings reflect Providence’s diverse housing ecosystem and the varying needs of renters, homeowners, landlords, developers, and community members. They helped shape the programmatic, policy, and regulatory approaches the City will take to advance affordable housing, including:

  • Identifying new financial resources to invest in Providence’s existing housing stock to preserve and enhance its affordability and quality.
  • Building upon collaborative partnerships to leverage existing housing resources with new funding sources in targeted areas to accomplish shared goals of safe and healthy housing, increased prosperity for all residents, and improved quality of life citywide.
  • Encouraging price diversity in all new housing construction through incentive programs that both ease the cost development and create safer, affordable units in underserved areas.
  • Implementing innovative regulatory changes and new policies to allow for creative housing solutions including increased homeownership, more robust rehabilitation of existing housing, incremental density in areas close to transit and job centers and reducing displacement of long-term Providence residents.

A full overview of recommended policy and programmatic changes, including recommended funding strategies, is available in the draft report, here: https://www.providenceri.gov/…/comprehensive-housing…/.

As the City anticipates the release of the Anti-Displacement and Comprehensive Housing Strategy, the public is encouraged to review the draft report and provide comments over the next 30 days. The City will integrate community feedback into the final plan, to be released in early 2021. For more information about the Strategy—including how to submit feedback—visit the City’s website, here: https://www.providenceri.gov/…/comprehensive-housing…/. For more information & to read the full press release, please click here: https://www.providenceri.gov/city-providence-charts-bold…/

2020 Annual (Virtual) Meeting

All are welcome to join us for our Annual (Virtual) Meeting on Monday October 5th at 7pm! We’ll have a look back and look ahead at SNA activities, updates and Q&A with elected officials, and elect a board and officers for 2020-2021. Please e-mail SNAProv@gmail.com to request a Zoom invitation!

July Meeting

After a hiatus of a few months while SNA has focused on administration of the Ward 3 area neighborhood aid program, we’ll host our normal July meeting (Monday 7/20, 7pm) virtually via Zoom. Please e-mail us for a Zoom invitation if you’d like to participate! Please also e-mail any items you’d like to discuss, so we can add them to our agenda. And finally, if you are interested in joining the SNA Board for 2020-2021, please let us know (and join us for the 7/20 meeting!). The more dedicated volunteer capacity we have, the more we can do to serve. We’d love to hear from you!

COVID-19 Update

Donate to support our neighborhood aid food & supply fund

Are you in need or willing to volunteer?
If you are in a high-risk group and in need of assistance, or if you are a volunteer willing to help, please use this form (or help a neighbor in need who may not have web access to do so). This is a free neighborhood service rapidly put together by SNA and a multitude of other local non-profits, elected officials, and individual volunteers.

Please be safe, smart, and considerate of neighbors who may be in need. If you’re in need, don’t be bashful. Reach out using the form.

Caroling for a Cause 2019

The annual Caroling For A Cause, sponsored by SNA in cooperation with The Miriam Hospital, features a band of volunteer singers of all abilities (you!) tramping through the neighborhood giving voice to the festive season and soliciting contributions of peanut butter or cash from residents to benefit the St. Raymond’s food pantry.

Everyone, including families with children, are invited to gather at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at the hospital main lobby for hot chocolate and cookies. At 4:30, the group will go a’caroling, and conclude in the parking lot of Seven Stars bakery on Hope Street about 6:30.

Songbooks will be provided, but participants should bring flashlights (or smartphone lights) to read the words. There will also be singing leaders, so no one should worry about not being able to carry a tune! (That being said, if you’d like to serve as a singling leader, please let us know!)

2019/2020 Property Tax Saga


Update as of 10/25/19: the City Council created a “Special Commission for the Study of a Progressive Property Tax

Update as of 7/15/19: the city budget has been signed by Mayor Elorza, and includes the more conventional property tax structure. City Council leadership stated that while they were unsuccessful this year, they wish to try to make the change to a two-tiered structure again next year.

Update as of 7/3/19: The controversial tax changes are off the table for this year. The Council switched to a more conventional proposal. The mayor has yet to approve it and may veto it, since it is part of a budget that includes some cuts that could be viewed as controversial. See Boston Globe article below. “The budget the council will vote on Wednesday would set one property tax rate — $24.56 per $1,000 of assessed value — for all homes, with a 40 percent exemption going to individuals who live in the properties they own. The proposal means anyone who was already getting a tax decrease under Elorza’s plan would get a larger one now, and residents who were getting a tax increase are getting a slightly smaller increase.”

Original June 2019 Post: SNA hosted a discussion on June 17th regarding the City Council leadership’s proposed property tax changes following the recent mandatory revaluation that occurred. Ward 3 City Councilor Nirva LaFortune shared her understanding and opinion of the situation, and fielded audience questions along with fellow elected officials District 4 State Representative Rebecca Kislak and Ward 1 City Councilor Seth Yurdin. The city must decide on a tax structure soon to tax residential property on their new valuations. There are two proposals in play as of June 18, 2019, each of which would comply with the state mandate that no city or town increase TOTAL taxes by more than 4% in one year: the Elorza administration’s proposal and the City Council leadership’s proposal. We’ll post resources here in an ongoing manner with an eye toward impartial information and statements by our local elected officials. Please share with us via SNAProv@gmail.com if you encounter sources that you think would be helpful to folks.

Art Contest Winner!

We’re pleased to announce the results of our Lippitt Park Little Free Library Art Contest. The winner is Xander Guilhardi, age 7! His winning work is shown above and will be featured on the new Little Free Library in the Lippitt Park playground, sponsored by the Friends of Rochambeau Library. He will also receive the first prize of a $25 art supply gift certificate. Kelsey Corrigan, age 10, won second prize of a $15 art supply gift certificate, and Maria, age 11, won third prize of a $10 art supply gift certificate. The judging was challenging with so many excellent entries from which to choose. Thank you to all who entered! And big thanks to local business Jerry’s Artarama at 653 North Main Street for donating the gift certificates to us!

The winning entry, from Xander Guilhardi, age 7!

Summer Outdoor Family Movie Nights

SNA is pleased to help bring neighbors outdoor family movie nights in Lippitt Park! These were a big success last year, and we’re excited that they’ll be back — and the first is this week: Wednesday, July 17th, at 7pm! The second is scheduled for Wednesday, August 21st.

Here’s a description from our friends at the Providence Children’s Film Festival and Cricket Cinema:

I screen… You screen… We ALL screen to watch breathtaking films in a beautiful Providence Park! The Providence Children’s Film Festival and the Cricket Cinema are delighted to partner up once again with the Summit Neighborhood Association and Hope Street Merchants Association to present two screenings under the stars in Lippitt Park this summer. On Wednesday, July 17th an award winning reel of short films titled BODIES IN MOTION (synopsis below) will return from it’s premiere last February at the festival. Popcorn will be poppin’ and feet will be stompin’ for this show beginning just after the sun sets in the west. Pack a picnic, grab a blanket and claim your spot on the lawn. The event is free and all ages are welcome!

BODIES IN MOTION: People express so much through their body language. Sometimes it’s planned like a dance, other times it’s a spontaneous reaction to an environment, or a protest to an injustice done. Be warned that after watching these films you might be inspired to “speak” a different body language. This reel includes a dance done completely underwater, a girl determined to be taught the art of wire walking, and a sloth that should never order ice cream again! (In English or no dialogue / 2016-2018 / 80 min / recommended for all ages)

This screening would not be possible without the generous support of the 2019 Eat Play Learn Neighborhood Performing Arts Initiative presented by Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, the
Providence Art Culture Tourism, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Partnership for Providence Parks, with support from the Office of Economic Opportunity Youth Advanced Summer Internship Team.

Location: Lippitt Memorial Park – 1015 Hope St, Providence, RI
Follow PCFF and/or SNA on Facebook for last minute changes due to weather conditions.”